Today’s #MediaMonday comes to us from the crisp northland, where they actually experience fall. A fellow Northern Arizona University alumnus, Chris Etling is the new managing editor at the Arizona Daily Sun. Chris, time to share:
November will mark my 10th year at the Daily Sun. I started my career at the paper in November of 2008 as a copy editor and page designer and worked my way up to associate editor. I now oversee newsroom content and stories in addition to managing page designs and editing copy.
I hope to follow in Randy Wilson’s footsteps with equal zeal and dedication. (Wilson was the previous managing editor who died suddenly back in July.) Randy taught me a lot of things along the way: to do more with less; to dig into stories when necessary; to listen to readers as much as possible; to solicit advice from those around you.
After graduating from Brophy Prep in Phoenix, I came to Flagstaff to attend NAU and never left. Although I was also copy editor and editor-in-chief at The Lumberjack during my undergraduate years, I did not plan to go into journalism initially. I always wanted to be a baseball broadcaster -- but then I realized that there were only 30 teams, and I wasn't on the best career path. A beloved, kooky priest and English teacher at Brophy and Lumberjack faculty adviser Annette McGivney also inspired me to pursue journalism.
I think the biggest story I’ve covered in my time at the Daily Sun was the Schultz Fire in 2010. It was a nearly 15,000-acre blaze that impacted numerous homes northeast of Flagstaff. It was one of the Sun’s most pivotal moments, one that put the notion of spreading information to the test. Our newsroom team was committed to informing the public throughout every phase of the fire. It was sort of a transformative experience because everyone came together to cover everything and get out information in the best way possible, even as some people were personally affected themselves.
I think even small newspapers have a tremendous importance for the community -- they can help spread information and hold local officials accountable when necessary. One of the challenges we face is the same that newspapers are facing nationwide, which is a difficult climate for journalism both financially and in public perception. Beyond that, the toughest task for us is covering as much of what matters to Flagstaff as possible.
When I’m not working, I like to spend time hiking, grilling, playing video games with friends and listening to music. I also like to travel at least a couple times a year.
I'm a pretty open book, so there's not a ton that people don't know about me. I made it to the state finals in the spelling bee in elementary school, but I screwed up a pretty basic word and got eliminated. I also play the keyboard and sing on the side.
I'm not extremely active on social media, but I do have Twitter: @ChrisEtling.